Significant improvements to services for looked after children

Published Monday, 15th April 2019
Significant improvements to services for looked after children
Significant improvements to services for looked after children

Children who are looked after by Rotherham Council are receiving a “strong service” which has “significantly improved” according to findings from the latest Ofsted visit.

Ofsted has released its latest findings following a two-day visit in March, which focussed on arrangements for permanence planning for children and young people.

In a letter to Jon Stonehouse, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services, inspectors said “progress is evident since the last inspection in 2017”, adding:

“Effective strategic planning has significantly improved permanence planning for children in care in a coherent and sustainable fashion."

They added that the directorate leadership had "successfully made use of the Council’s existing strengths such as performance reporting, together with increased management oversight of children’s individual circumstances, to achieve sustained improvement.”

The inspectors also praised social workers, saying “significant partners, such as the Children and Family Courts Advisory Service (CAFCAS) report an increasing amount of good quality social work” and “Social workers can articulate their plans for children in care thoroughly. They see them regularly and know them well.”

The report also found that social workers reported high workloads, due to various factors including increased numbers of children in care over the past two years. Despite these challenges, the report states that “given the pressures on their time, it is to their credit that they operate above the minimum level of visiting children on their caseload and know them so well.”

Children’s services at the Council received an overall rating of “Good” in 2017, however Looked after Children and Achieving Permanence was rated as “requires improvement” and work has been ongoing to raise standards in these areas.

Mr Stonehouse said: “I am very pleased to see the significant progress made since the last Ofsted inspection in 2017.

“Our looked after children deserve the very best and helping to achieve permanence and stability is of paramount importance. There is still work to do but I am confident that we are able to continue to build on the hard work so far to ensure continuous improvement.”

Findings from the focused visit will be taken into account when Ofsted plans the next inspection or visit of the Council. Please find the link to the published Ofsted report below:

View the Ofsted report